WVU Lacks Killer Instinct - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Lacks Killer Instinct


The West Virginia University men's basketball team can play better than its record reflects. At 7-6, the Mountaineers are a team in desperate need of some wins.

WVU has held second half leads in four of its six losses. The Mountaineers actually led by 12 points over Oklahoma before losing 77-71 to the Sooners last Saturday. It was the latest example of a team that can build up a lead, but not hold onto it and put an opponent away.

"That's what I think it is," WVU Guard Jabarie Hinds said regarding a lack of killer instinct. "Any team that gets a lead on us, they try and step on our throats. We need to do the same and we should be okay."

"I think it is our concentration," WVU Guard Juwan Staten said. "I think over 40 minutes we just have a problem concentrating for 40 minutes. We play in spurts and then we go in droughts where we don't score or where we can't get a stop and I think that is due to a lack of concentration."

Look up and down the top ten in the rankings and you will see teams that establish leads and build on them. WVU has failed to do that every time that it gets a double-digit lead. In each of those situations, West Virginia has gone into a scoring slump and at the same time allowed baskets to its opponent on the other end of the floor. That can get into the heads of every player on the team and now a few empty trips on offense lead to a sense that another scoring drought is brewing.

"I can sense it," Staten said. "For the most part we get good movement and get good shots, but once our offense gets stagnant, we get stagnant on the defensive end too. I can always see it coming, but that is something we have to fight through together."

The Mountaineers are good enough to have leads in 11 of their 13 games, but not consistent enough to hold them. The players realize they have themselves to blame for one key aspect of the game, playing from the opening tipoff to the final horn.

"When we get a lead going into halftime, we tend to relax," Staten shrugged. "We relax in the second half and then when a team gets on a run, it is kind of hard to turn it off and then turn it back on. I think that is our problem."

Having his team fail to play the entire game is one of the biggest fears of any coach. Those are the kinds of mistakes that make the difference between wins and losses and WVU understands that better than anyone right now.

"Am I surprised?" Hinds answered when asked about the number of mistakes by his teammates. "Yea. We are in conference play now, so we should know what each other is going to do and how the game is flowing and I think we should have a better understanding on the court."

WVU is not where Mountaineer fans have become accustomed to seeing their team at this point in the season. Perhaps this situation is similar to the way Head Coach Bob Huggins describes the art of rebounding, "Try it once," Huggins says. "You never know, you may like it and decide you want to get another one."

The Mountaineers need to try playing a 40 minute game. Once they do, they may decide they like it and do it again.

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